ABB successfully commissions six gearless mill drives at Panama's newest mine

Commercial production of copper now underway at large open pit Cobre Panama mine.

Technology leader ABB has deployed six ABB Gearless Mill Drives in Panama at the Cobre Panama copper mine, which is located 120 kilometers west of Panama City in the Donoso district, Colon province.

The Panamanian company that holds the Cobre Panama concession is Mineria Panama S.A. (MPSA). Following a period of ownership transition, First Quantum Minerals Ltd, a well-established and growing metals and mining company, increased its ownership to 90% in November 2017.

The six ABB Gearless Mill Drives, which are the most powerful mill drive systems on the market for semi-autogenous (SAG), ball and autogenous mills, have been installed since late last year and are all now in continuous operation. Two 28 MW gearless mill drive systems (GMDs) are operating in the mine's 40 foot SAG mills and four 16.5 MW GMDS are employed in 26 foot ball mills along with associated control systems.

  • The six ABB Gearless Mill Drives have been installed since late last year and are all now in continuous operation
  • ABB team at Mina de Cobre in Panama

"Gearless mill drives are the 'workhorses' for grinding operations which are at the heart of any mine. The six ABB GMDs at the world class Cobre Panama project are extremely robust. As the ore extraction pace indicates they are maximizing throughput," said Rene Chacon, project manager at ABB for Cobre Panama. "They allow operators to react to changes in ore characteristics due to variable speed and, by optimizing the process, are more efficient in their use of grinding power."

ABB has also installed its extended automation system, ABB Ability™ System 800xA at Cobre Panama, which empowers mine operators to drive efficiency, by making more accurate and timely decisions. ABB Ability™ Remote Service Centers, which provide state-of-the-art remote diagnostic services, maintenance reports, remote online monitoring of critical assets, and access to ABB's product and maintenance experts are also installed.

ABB Gearless Mill Drives such as those at Cobre Panama can operate under the most extreme environmental conditions like high altitudes or varied climates in remote locations. Due to their optimized design, they maximize reliability and availability of grinding mills.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader with a comprehensive offering for digital industries. With a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB is today a leader in digital industries with four customer-focused, globally leading businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, supported by its common ABB Ability™ digital platform. ABB’s market leading Power Grids business will be divested to Hitachi in 2020. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.ABB is a trusted partner to the mining industry, delivering electrification, automation and digital solutions, products and services that cover the complete value chain from mine to market.

ABB brings equipment, systems and people together to making mining operations more efficient, safer, and more profitable, drawing on worldwide expertise, the best people and technology and domain knowledge gained from over a century of electrification and process control in mines. ABB’s unique expertise is in seamlessly integrating electrical, automation and digital applications into engineered solutions to help mining and mineral processing customers optimize their operations and meet the challenges of future mining. (http://new.


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